Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"In play, run(s)"

As many of you already know, the Mz & I have been without cable for (almost exactly!) a year now. Our decision to "snip the wire" sprang from several events last summer:

1) It became apparent that the Noggin channel provided Jr. with pacification and stimulation far superior to anything we could possibly provide. I was also showing signs of addiction to the program Oswald.

2) We had brunch with some friends who cancelled their cable years ago. They seemed perfectly happy and normal.

3) There was no way the Yankees were making the playoffs.

So we did the unthinkable. TV was officially and irrevocably out of our lives. It took me about 7 minutes to completely catalog the channels we still got from Time Warner (not bad, actually: the basics plus TNT (long gone), TBS (lost it about two weeks ago), CSPAN2 (?!), and other odds & ends).

So how does one get by when one roots for the best team in Major League Baseball and can't watch the fucking games? Of course I see the games I actually attend, plus the channel 9 games and the dreaded Fox games, but that don't add up to much. How exactly does one get by?

Like a castaway developing a taste for raw starfish, I actually enjoy the MLB Gameday service. Pretty much all the major sports have something like this going on, but this one really might be the best. It certainly beats the hell out of ESPN's awful MLB Gamecast, which is about as exciting as watching a ballgame out the window of an airplane.

Here's an example of how Gameday expertly builds suspense for the viewer: note the "In play, run(s)" in Jeter's result column. We don't really know what happened now, do we?! I mean, we know Jeter knocked in at least one run, obviously (I sure hope so-- bases loaded, no outs), but was it a single? Grand slam? Double play? Those 5 or 6 seconds of anticipation are indescribable-- you know something good has happened, and the only question is just how good is it? Quite different from the 5 or 6 seconds of anticipation you get when you're tuned in to WCBS 880 and Sterling's not sure if the ball's out of the park, foul, or caught.

Here's another one. "In play, no out" is good, but no run(s) were scored or else it would've said "In play, run(s)"... get it? If symbolic logic wasn't your strong suit in college, you should probably just stick with Michael Kay.

Gameday also allows you to control the perspective of the "camera" on the "batter." The first shot here gives you the best possible view of Derek Jeter's ass available to the general public.
I prefer this next one, which I developed one stoney night at the computer. Here, our sight line originates about fifty feet underground somewhere out past second base. The brown disc-outline is actually the pitcher's mound, as seen from beneath. In this particular case, I saw the mound as a giant spaceship visiting Yankee Stadium with the sole purpose of abducting Nick Swisher before he could strike out or hit into a double play.

Check out the graphic display of tension here for Hairston's epic 12-pitch at bat and eventual walk. I'll take this over the idiotic "pitch-by-pitch" garbage they peddle on TV any day of the week (except Saturdays, when I usually get to watch the game on TV).
Plus you get the awesome spattering of red strikes & green balls. My main complaint here is that you don't get a special graphic when the batter is drilled by a pitch... some kind of splotch or throbbing circle would be great. Might be enough to make me want to watch Joba Chamberlain pitch on MLB Gameday!

Gameday isn't without its quirks and annoyances. Circled in blue down below is a shiny, juicy button that no human could possibly resist pushing, especially when it promises to deliver digital footage of Mark Teixeira driving home two runs. All you get is a prompt asking you to sign up (and pay) for Gameday Premium service.

Under that, circled in red, is an "Injury Delay" update message. Who got injured? What happened?! Usually we never know.

Underlined in green is a perfectly clear, unambigous and unsurprising piece of news.
Sometimes Gameday does weird shit, like this message "Pitcher Change: Jason Jennings replaces Jason Jennings." If I had a dime for every time I wanted to replace a pitcher with a better version of himself!!


Joey Pants said...

Lee, this is absolutely brilliant and should be published in a magazine.

Lee said...

Been too long, Mr. Pants. You know we got #2 on the way, right?

Joey Pants said...

Didn't! Best news in a long time. Mr. Pants would like a drink with you to toast your burgeoning family, shoot the breeze and discuss the steez.... and soon!

Joey Pants said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joey Pants said...

Hey Lee,

Mrs. Pants here...

As someone who relies on MLB Gameday every Friday night while at work, I found your analysis spot on. And did I mention HILARIOUS!
Great news about #2; hope everyone is feeling OK.